Cross a gym with a playground and what’s the result? Outdoor fitness equipment — a fresh new take on the pull-up and dip bars formerly found in parks and along trails. Increasingly popular on campuses, modern outdoor gyms feature a vast range of exercise units suited to virtually every ability level. But with all the options, what’s the best approach to designing the optimal gym?
First is to consider who the equipment will serve, with the goal being to complement existing campus amenities in the most effective way possible. An outdoor gym is an excellent way to serve populations that don’t frequent the indoor fitness center; there are many students who will not be in the habit of exercising and may find the indoor gym intimidating.
The outdoor gym is an excellent method of introducing students to exercise equipment in an environment that’s casual and, with its sleek, simplistic units, is highly user-friendly. Those students who use the indoor gym will be sure to appreciate the option to workout in the fresh air.
Faculty, staff and administrators can benefit from outdoor exercise that’s in a visible, highly trafficked area of campus and doesn’t require the hour-plus time commitment of “going to the gym.”
Some campuses also attract community members to their outdoor amenities such as tracks and trails. Outdoor fitness equipment can be another way campuses can provide benefits to the larger community.
Once the target users are determined, equipment selection can be made. Outdoor fitness equipment consists of various options:
Bodyweight equipment, including pull-up bars, dip stations and the like, are suited for those at advanced fitness levels.
Bodyweight leverage assistance units utilize a portion of the individual’s bodyweight for resistance. These machines are excellent for beginning and intermediate fitness levels, as they easily adapt.
Adjustable resistance machines can be tailored to the user’s ability level by the means of a piston. Highly versatile, these units are capable of serving a wide variety of users.
Accessible equipment is designed for users in wheelchairs. Those with mobility impairments typically don’t have many options when it comes to working out. The outdoor gym provides an ideal avenue not just for fitness but also for integration with the rest of the campus population.
Resistance-free units provide great stretching exercises to those of all ability levels.
Besides their ability to be easily customized to the target demographics, outdoor gyms boast many other benefits as well — such as the ability to boost the user’s mood by means of the invigorating natural setting. Outdoor gyms are designed to foster interaction among users, strengthening the social fabric of the campus and the greater community. Finally, staffing isn’t required, meaning the gym is open to anyone, anytime.
Allison Abel is the director of marketing for Greenfields Outdoor Fitness. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.315.9037 x 112.